Rural model dedicated education unit: partnership between college and hospital

J Contin Educ Nurs. 2013 Feb;44(2):89-96. doi: 10.3928/00220124-20121217-62. Epub 2012 Dec 26.


This article describes the pilot project development of a rural model Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) by a rural college nursing program and a rural hospital to increase student nurses' confidence and proficiency and improve recruitment of prepared rural staff nurses. Traditionally, for economies of scale, most student clinical rotations occurred in urban settings with the number of students per clinical instructor allowed by the state board of nursing. College budget constraints negated the placement of fewer than this mandated maximum number of students in a rural hospital with a clinical instructor; moreover, rural hospitals could not accommodate 10 students at one time. Rural nursing students were anxious in the urban settings, and this anxiety precluded learning in many instances. Rural hospitals face higher registered nurse vacancies than urban centers. Of the nurses applying for open positions, many were not prepared for the demands of rural nursing, resulting in increased turnover and high orientation costs. The rural model DEU addressed issues of both the nursing program and the hospital. The design and development of the rural model DEU and the advantages of the partnership for the college nursing program and the hospital are discussed. Initial outcomes and serendipitous findings from the pilot project are also discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, Rural / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations*
  • Models, Organizational*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / supply & distribution
  • Pilot Projects
  • Universities / organization & administration*